Raising Chickens in Your Backyard

Raising Chickens in Your Backyard
"People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately." Oscar Wilde

Sunday, April 3, 2011

King Arthur Flour Giveaway

If there's one thing I love more than chickens, it's King Arthur Flour.
If you love it too, then click this link
for a chance to win a year's supply of KAF flour, a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer, and $50 in cash.

I'm just wondering whether Foodiacs is aware of how much flour I use in a year!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken Sitting Is All the Rage

Looking to own your own business? Perhaps one with low startup costs? Then consider starting a chicken-sitting venture. With more people keeping chickens in urban and suburban areas, trained chicken sitters are in demand and available. It's all the rage!

Check it out: Chicken Sitters Ready to Tend Your Flock

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chickens in NYC

My friend Jen sent me the following link:
Chicken Vanishes, Heartbreak Ensues
Click on it...it's a sweet story in the New York Times
about chickens in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Water Warmer Woes Part II

I just stumbled across this blog about keeping the chicken water from freezing. The blog covers the basics and is good general information, though nothing earth shattering. What surprised me, however, were the comments. Some of the things people do to keep their chicken water from freezing! One guy starts with "I took a large clay pot, a teflon frying pan, and a drill..." What??? Someone else made a block heater out of "a concrete block, a light bulb socket, extension cord, metal flashing, and some spray-in insulation." OMG and to think I thought my only two options were warmer base or heated waterer. I guess I'm not as handy as I think.

A homemade block heater? Really?

Guess it would have saved me the $207 in electrician's fees.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Water Warmer Woes

If you look back to my December post, you'll remember me talking about water freezing overnight with the cold weather. If there's one thing the chickens need, it's a steady supply of fresh water. They're not too fond of ice cubes (beaks are too small!).

There are two options in the quest for unfrozen water: a heated waterer or a heater base with a galvanized waterer on top. After speaking to a couple of people who know, including the nice guys at Agway, I decided to go with the heater base/galvanized waterer mainly because I was told they were more reliable and would last longer.

If you didn't click on the links, you missed that both options are both options cost $40+ -- not exactly cheap! Little did I know how expensive it would end up!

On my first trip to Agway, the warmer bases were sold out. On my second trip, I managed to get one. Success! Or so I thought.

We don't have power run out to our coop, so my husband went to the hardware store and bought 150 yards of 14-2 gauge, outdoor-rated, waterproof extension cord (also not cheap!). We hooked it all up and voila: unfrozen water.

Wait, no so fast. (If this were a movie, right now would be when you would hear the sound of a record scratch.)

The extension cord was hooked up to our outdoor gfci outlet. Suddenly all the gfci outlets in our house were tripping. You know, the light/fan combo in the shower and all? The worst part was that we couldn't seem to reset anything. After a couple of days frustration, we called an electrician. The electrician came through the house, checked everything, and told us he thought it was the warmer base that was causing a ground short and tripping the gfci outlets. $207 to find out that we bought a faulty warmer base. OUCH!

Back to Agway I went, where they happily exchanged my defective base for a new one. Back home I went to get my poor hens some fresh water. The new base has been more reliable though it still occasionally trips the gfci outlet. We don't know if it's the crazy weather we've been having in the Northeast or if there's a problem with the extension cord, which is buried under 3 feet of snow. We just have to remember to check it daily so that the gals are well hydrated.

Who knew????

Monday, January 31, 2011

No eggs today

For the first time since the gals started laying regularly, we've had a day with no eggs. I'm hoping this is just a coincidence and not a sign that the flock is getting sick or suffering from the cold. My concern is that we've lost three hens in the past 6 weeks, which seems a lot considering our last loss was an immature hen back in June. Worra, worra, worra!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Egg Popsicle Anyone?

Now that the weather in the Northeast is positively frigid (it was 15 degrees when I went out at midday yesterday), I've been worried about my eggs freezing. In the very cold weather, you're supposed to collect eggs several times a day to prevent this from happening. For a while, I had a broody hen who would keep my eggs toasty, but she hasn't been setting for a few days now.

My main worry about my eggs freezing was how would I know they were frozen and would this render the egg inedible? Two nights ago, I found the answer to at least one of my questions. When eggs freeze, their shells crack. Remembering back to your introductory physics class, water expands when it freezes, and something must give to make more room, hence the shell cracks. It all makes sense. And about the second question, well I don't think I'm even going to try to eat the cracked frozen eggs that were sitting in the coop among the wood chips and other things that will remain unmentioned.